Colquitt County wouldn’t be the first 0-3 team to win a state title. (Peach County and Lincoln County each accomplished that in 2006 and weren't the first.) But the Packers would be the first 0-4 team to do it. So perhaps the cold truth of history is at stake Friday, when Colquitt (0-3) plays at No. 1-ranked Roswell (2-0) in a rematch of the 2015 title game.
Roswell returns its all-state running back (Sheldon Evans) and receiver (Jayden Comma), plus major Division I defensive backs (Xavier McKinney, LeAnthony Williams). The new quarterback, Malik Willis, is committed to Virginia Tech.
And Roswell is playing at home. Odds are against a Packers team that needed to replace almost every key part of its national championship team (High School Football America).
This is a game that shed light on where Class 7A is headed this season. Aside perhaps from Grayson, Roswell is clearly the most talented team in terms of big-name recruits, not to mention the pedigree of a runner-up finish in 2015. How does Roswell compare to Mill Creek, which beat Colquitt 31-24 in the opener? How much has Colquitt improved in the meantime? Colquitt has lost by seven points or less to its three opponents, two that are nationally ranked (Mill Creek, American Heritage). Tucker came from 20-7 down to win 21-20.
That’s the most intriguing game of the week in the highest class. Here are some others –
Norcross at North Gwinnett – Both are ranked, but neither has established itself as clearly back to the era when they won or shared eight of the past 10 Region 7 championships. Perhaps the winner can say it is. The two are no longer in the same region, by the way. North is in 6. Norcross is in 7.
Mill Creek at Archer – Most have written Archer off after it lost seven major Division I players from its 2015 team that started the year ranked No. 1 but flickered out in a 23-0 loss to Mill Creek in the semifinals. Mill Creek lost nine defensive starters of its own but plays better team defense than anybody, exceptionally fast to the ball. CB Jonathan Gipson is probably the only sure major D-I recruit on that side of the ball, yet only Colquitt County in the past 18 games has scored more than two TD’s against the Hawks.
Glynn Academy at Camden County – This is one of three games that match 7A teams against very strong smaller-class teams. The others are Westlake at No. 1 Cartersville of 4A and Tift County vs. No. 2 Valdosta of 6A. If you have aspirations of going far in the big class, you'd expect to show well against even the best of 6A and below. Camden is 0-2, both losses to Florida teams, and while those teams were pretty good, the scores of 27-13 and 46-17 are not encouraging. Camden has not been 0-3 since 1969. The last 0-2 start was 1997.
Peachtree Ridge at Newton – Both made the second round of the playoffs last year. Both have been ranked by somebody at some point this season but played themselves off the radar. Peachtree Ridge lost close to Archer and Mays. No shame in that. Newton tied county rival Eastside 41-41.
Collins Hill at Central Gwinnett – Both at 0-3, these are two of the more disappointing teams of 7A thus far, but both have enough weapons and pride to turn it around. Collins Hill started 0-3 last season and made the quarterfinals, and it took a rousing 52-23 victory over North Gwinnett in Game 4 to get it started. Central has made the second round each of the past two seasons and felt this was the best team of the past three.
For a closer look at the Mill Creek-Archer, North Gwinnett-Norcross, Valdosta-Tift County and Roswell-Colquitt County games, see Georgia High School Football Daily's preview capsules.
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